Moving beyond the confines of Pattaya
At the far southern tip of Chonburi province sits Sattahip, which encompasses an area of almost 350 sq.km. Although often considered as part of the general “Pattaya” area, this district has many unique features that set it apart and make it a destination worth taking some time to explore.
For those keen on the military, Sattahip is home to the Sattahip Naval Base—the largest base of the Royal Thai Navy in Thailand—and here you’ll find the HTMS Chakri Naruebet, the Thai Navy’s sole aircraft carrier. Unfortunately, only Thai citizens are allowed to tour this vessel.
In Thai the word satta means “seven”, and hip refers to a “box” or “barrier”, and thus the district’s name refers to the seven main islands off coast that, in effect, protect this region. Not all can be easily visited, but some are set up for tourism, including Koh Samae San, Koh Khram, and Koh Klet Kaew (more popularly known as ‘Monkey Island’). Or, if you don’t want to leave the mainland, just make a visit to Bangsaray Beach to find your own oceanfront oasis.
Family friendly on-land attractions are plentiful here, and one of the most popular is the Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Gardens, a 1,500-rai (600-acre) plot of land full of meticulously manicured greenery. The grounds are divided into thematic sections—such as the Italian garden, the Versailles-inspired French garden, the animal sculpture garden, and Butterfly Hill—and there are daily Thai cultural performances and elephant shows.
Families also love the two enormous water parks located in this region—the Cartoon Network Amazone and the Ramayana Water Park—as well as the Swiss Sheep Farm, a European-styled farm environment with lots of cute animals to entertain the young ones.
A different sort of family-friendly outing—and one that adults can also enjoy on their own—is a visit to Silverlake Vineyard. Founded in 2002, the winery’s main estate is built in a Tuscan style, and guided tours of the winemaking facilities are available daily, concluding with wine tasting and tapas on the terrace. The wines made here include a variety of exotic red, white, and rose ‘New Latitude’ wines (those cultivated outside of the traditional wine regions), which are also available at the vineyard’s on-site Italian-style eatery, the Silverlake Wine & Grill Restaurant.
OCEAN MARINA BOAT SHOW
From November 23rd to the 26th the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show 2017 takes over the Ocean Marina Yacht Club (located just north of Sattahip). Organizers expect more than 4,000 high-profile visitors to turn up during the four-day event, which showcases the growing yachting industry in Southeast Asia. Highlights include daily free yacht cruises, kayaking, paddle boats, and a lively food and drinks festival. The show runs from 11am till 7pm each day.
By Bruce Scott